NAIAS 2017 | Ford 2018 Mustang – Most Advanced Pony Car in History
The designers and engineers at Ford consider the 2015 Mustang a masterpiece. Introduced amidst the heady atmosphere of the original pony car’s 50th anniversary, that Mustang served as a bold rebirth that kept a few echoes of its past appearance intact — while shedding most en route to a sleeker, more 21st century identity.
So, when it came time to shake the dust off of that 2015 Mustang for a little 2018 freshening up, Ford’s crew left most styling lines of that three-year-old remake alone. Instead, they focused on making the latest version of the highest selling sports car in history the most technologically advanced Mustang ever built.
During a special media preview before a handful of reporters during last week’s NAIAS 2017 press days, Carl Widman, Mustang Chief Engineer, pulled the proverbial and literal curtain off of the 2018 model and the technological improvements added throughout its familiar lines. While the latest Mustang is still an all-American powerhouse, it’s keeping pace with the endless automotive industry trend of safety and comfort advancements.
Since this is still Ford’s oldest and top selling sports car, many of the enhancements discussed during the hush-hush debut start under the hood. The GT version still provides a proper 5.0 Liter V8 with a twin disc clutch manual transmission. The driver can switch between Normal, Sport and Track drive modes, with the latter activating optional track readout functions (including in-dash F1 starter lights or a traditional drag racing Christmas tree countdown for straight line speed testing).
However, the 2018 will be the first to feature a brand new, 10 speed automatic transmission. Such a high-tech automatic is absolutely necessary because Millennials can’t drive stick, but it’s always best I avoid discussing the merits of a V8 Mustang GT with a self-shifting gearbox.
We’ll see the V6 Mustang disappear for 2018, while the GT is joined by a 2.3 liter EcoBoost version with an increased compression ratio and improved torque. Regardless of engine size, buyers will get an improved Sync infotainment system with an optional WiFi hotspot in-car. The model’s first ever 12-inch, all-digital instrument cluster will arrive by 2018, offering full user customization for maximum data display.
Also new for 2018, the MyMode with memory function saves and recalls a driver’s in-car performance and comfort preferences for the next drive. The latest Mustang will stay in tune with modern safety evolutions with new driver-assist features like Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection.
The individual customization and preferences refine everything right down to the car’s exhaust note. A new active valve exhaust system is now an option on Mustang GT. It offers a selectable soundtrack of engine noises to match the acceleration range and the surroundings. However, preferring a Mustang GT to make less noise makes about as much sense here as a V8 muscle car with an automatic transmission. But, there I go again…
It’s best to leave it at this: Ford’s most advanced Mustang still looks spectacular with a few minor tweaks to its outward styling. Meanwhile, it surpasses all of its predecessors with technology new to the model. The 2018 Mustang goes on sale this autumn, and final prices and all specs will debut before then.